I first came across this book, The Happiness Project – By Gretchen Rubin, a few months ago while searching Amazon for something to read on my Kindle. I had just handed in my dissertation for my Masters Degree and was finding it challenging to transition from study mode to life after study. I needed a good book to pour myself into. After searching through my favourite authors and finding nothing, I decided to follow my nose. The Happiness Project sounded interesting so I read the blurb. The tone was just right for me, conversational and so easy to read. I didn’t want yet another book I would need to read alongside a dictionary, so it was perfect!
Gretchen’s happiness project is a kind of twist on the traditional New Years resolutions. Instead of resolving to loose 5kg or one of the other common goals which quickly get forgotten, Gretchen gave herself a year to look closely at all the different elements which contribute to her happiness. Each element, for example health, marriage or career, was given a month of intense focus with specific goals or behaviours to practice. At the beginning of each new month a new set of goals were added to the last set and by December a whole years worth of resolutions were in play. Sounds exciting right?
The book itself details Gretchen’s journey as she struggles to make meaningful changes to her life and discovers her own secrets of happiness. I really appreciate the invitational nature of this book as Gretchen gently encourages the reader to contemplate their own levels of happiness and perhaps consider starting their own happiness project completely unique to them. What really stood out to me what that Gretchen wasn’t particularly unhappy. She was just drifting along living in the day to day as we all do. What this says to me is that we don’t have to wait for some apocalyptic event to take stock of our lives or to resolve to live better or be happier. We can choose to start this journey at any time, maybe even right now. For any of you interested a good place to start would be Gretchen’s Blog
Another highlight for me was when Gretchen chose to put down goals that no longer worked for her. I see this as evidence of growth and development as the goals of a beginner are not and should not be the same as the goals of one who is more advanced. Also as Gretchen got to know herself better she got to know more about what actually made her happy as opposed to what she thought should make her happy (not normally the same thing) and was able to make changes accordingly.
The Happiness Project, has provided me with a kind of framework for straightening out my own life after a long period of study and I am grateful to Gretchen for sharing a good idea and providing a good example for others to follow.